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COVID-19 reminds us to prioritize “water supply, sanitation, and hygiene” (WASH) to reduce child mortality
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has registered 959,116 deaths worldwide as of 21 September 2020. While the number is alarming, it is still not large compared with the 5.2 million children who died due to various causes in 2019, according to UNICEF. COVID-19 reminds us how much child mortality continues to be a significant challenge for global health and the global economy. In addition to the loss of human lives, the economic consequences are also significant.
Do the socioeconomic spillovers from sewage treatment plants in developing countries justify heavy investment in them?
Decent sanitation for all is crucial for rapidly urbanizing developing countries, such as India. As large volumes of wastewater in developing countries remain untreated, the investments in treatment facilities have not kept pace with the steady increases in population and urbanization and the resulting increases in wastewater volumes.
The “out of sight, out of mind” attitude is proving to be critical for the slow progress toward target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on global, safely managed sanitation. There is a general lack of awareness among users on the whereabouts of their poop, and the discussion on wastewater management is scarce and still a taboo topic in many parts of the world, leading to a lack of safely managed sanitation services. Besides the lack of demand hampering progress, the supply side of wastewater management is equally grim.
By Nikhil Bugalia. Posted October 25, 2018
The most exciting part of my journey here at the Asian Development Bank Institute is that I get to meet inspiring leaders who have contributed immensely to helping solve the pressing challenges related to sustainable development. This time it was an interaction opportunity with the world-renowned “Mr. Toilet”, i.e., Mr. Jack Sim. If it were not for the efforts of Mr. Toilet and the World Toilet Organization (WTO), the United Nations would not have recognized 19 November as World Toilet Day, an effort by the global agency to mainstream the discussion on wastewater.
By Sandy Rodger. Posted August 31, 2018
In both respects, sanitation is deeply embedded. Grids of sewer pipes have been fixed into the surface of cities in the developed world for more than a century, and it has become a strong and important part of most policy makers’ belief that this is how to provide sanitation. Or, despairing of such systems ever being built in developing countries, some have swung to the opposite view, advocating off-grid solutions, which, while less embedded in the ground, become an equally strong and important part of their proponents’ beliefs.
Evidence-based capacity building can inspire policy makers to accelerate sanitation interventions in Asia
By Vedanti Kelkar. Posted August 29, 2018
National and local governments in Asia are facing significant challenges to effectively deliver access to sanitation, as well as to properly collect, transport, dispose of, and treat fecal sludge. Actions taken by governments at present have been to implement large-scale sewer networks, which are prohibitively expensive, and which take years to plan and build. To address the growing challenges and requirements of sanitation, many cities are using a combination of on- and off-site sanitation solutions provided by a range of service providers comprising civil society partners, private companies, and municipalities or utility companies.
By Nikhil Bugalia. Posted August 27, 2018
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and, more importantly, the citizens of India have acknowledged that the country is undergoing the “worst water crisis” in its history—and they are making commendable efforts to address it. They have proposed a comprehensive index to create awareness and to enable effective water management for the Indian states. In June 2018, NITI Aayog, the premier think tank for the Government of India, proposed the Composite Water Management Index, a tool to assess and improve the efficiency of water resource management.
By Nikhil Bugalia. Posted August 17, 2018
Leh, a high-altitude cold desert in India, is a popular tourist destination hosting around 250,000 visitors annually. At present, the poorly designed septic tanks and soak pits installed by households, hotels, and guesthouses to contain fecal sludge are posing a serious threat to groundwater contamination. To cater to the demand for fecal sludge management (FSM), the Municipal Committee of Leh (MCL) partnered with a private company called Blue Water Company (BWC) and a technical nongovernment organization named BORDA in 2017 to provide an end-to-end FSM service, including pit emptying and operation of a sludge treatment plant.
What can countries in Asia learn from the Republic of Korea and Malaysia about sanitation and its economic impacts?
By Vedanti Kelkar. Posted January 19, 2018
In 2014, when I first moved to the Republic of Korea from India, I was impressed and awestruck by the country’s infrastructure and ease of mobility. Being an architect, the aspect I found most endearing of the city-wide master planning was the access and provision of toilets almost everywhere, be it at metro train stations, bus terminals, shopping plazas, parks, or even on mountain hikes. The convenience of having clean and hygienic toilets in public places was truly a gift for me during my stay there for a few years.
By Alexandre Le Vernoy. Posted December 5, 2016
In many parts of the world, water availability is in decline and its quality is deteriorating. According to the World Bank, water scarcity, intensified by climate change, could come at a high price for some regions, costing as much as 6 percent of their gross domestic product. Tackling the water challenge is crucial to unlocking poverty eradication, prosperity, ecosystems preservation, and gender equality. As such, water security is a fundamental element of a sustainable development agenda. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals recognized this by introducing a dedicated water goal (“SDG 6”) that seeks to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
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